Thursday, December 18, 2008

Coming to DVD: East of Eden (1981)

The 1980s have been called the Second Golden Age of television. Along with outstanding weekly dramatic series, the decade featured a steady stream of excellent long-form "limited series," spread over a few nights or weeks.

One of the very best miniseries was EAST OF EDEN, a complete telling of the Steinbeck novel. It originally aired over three nights when I was in college, and my friends and I were absolutely riveted by it. The 1955 version starring James Dean is an acknowledged classic, but the 1981 version is a classic in its own right.

Jane Seymour won the Golden Globe for her depiction of the evil Cathy, who wreaks havoc in the lives of brothers played by Timothy Bottoms and Bruce Boxleitner. The Emmy Awards lost a lot of credibility for me when they overlooked Seymour's performance.

Sam Bottoms, who sadly just passed away at the age of 53 due to brain cancer, played Cal, the troubled son previously played by James Dean. In a nice bit of casting, real-life brothers Timothy and Sam Bottoms played father and son in the miniseries.

The superb cast also included Lloyd Bridges, Karen Allen, Anne Baxter, Warren Oates, Howard Duff, Soon-Tek Oh, and Hart Bochner.

A neat bit of trivia: The beautiful Lee Holdridge score was used by Michelle Kwan for some of her championship performances. You can see a video of her skating to the music here.

EAST OF EDEN is finally coming to DVD on March 3, 2009. This one is a must-see if you love great storytelling.


Blogger Ms.Daisy said...

Thanks Laura...I'll be watching for this one!


8:53 PM  

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